The Baltimore Orioles are once again a mainstay in recent rumor mill talks, as prized first base free agent Adam LaRoche decided to accept a two year deal with the Washington Nationals, thus Mike Morse trade talks began to swirl.
Not only have the Orioles, and rightfully so, been mentioned as a possible trade candidate for Morse, but Baltimore has also been rumored to be in trade talks to acquire Jason Kubel or Justin Upton to fill the void of that middle of the line-up big bat. Recently I have repeatedly been asked which player the Orioles should really go after, thus I have done some analytical work to compare these three players to see which one the Orioles should make the primary target.
First let's breakdown each player's career numbers:
Kubel, as you can see above, has the most big league experience, but all three players have played enough in the big leagues that experience is not an issue. Of the numbers shown above, the biggest things that stick out to me is strike out to walk ratio, stolen bases and home run to plate appearance ratio. Kubel and Upton strike out a little over two times per every walk they garner, but Morse is just under four strikeouts per walk, which is alarming, considering the Orioles already strikeout a ton. Secondly, Morse does have a better home run per plate appearance ratio however, so at least he is producing long balls at a better rate to offset the strikeouts. Lastly, it is unquestionable that Upton brings with him some speed on the base paths that neither Kubel or Morse bring to the table.
It is undeniable that Morse has the better career numbers in regards to batting average and slugging percentage and is not far behind Upton in regards to on base percentage. The only argument against Morse's number in the above chart is that he has just over half the plate appearances as Kubel or Upton.
Here is the most important analytical aspect for the Orioles, and it is unfortunate that this is the case, but money is always the biggest issue for Baltimore. All three guys have a positive and a negative in regards to their salary and contractual control. Kubel costs more than Morse and less than Upton, but would be under team control for two years. Morse is the cheapest option, but would be a one year rental as he will be a free agent after 2013 and will get a big pay raise in free agency that Baltimore would most certainly not match. Lastly, Upton, who is the most expensive option would also be the most long term addition as he would be under team control for three seasons.
Upton is the youngest of these three guys at 26 years old, while the other two are 30, but as aforementioned he is the most expensive salary wise, and likely trade wise as well. Morse and Kubel could likely be acquired for one marquee pitcher (likely Matusz) and maybe a low key minor leaguer, but would be under team control for fewer seasons than Upton. Ultimately, I feel that Kubel is should be the primary target for the Orioles because he is the best overall deal. With Kubel you are going to get a left handed power hitter who is under team control for two seasons, has the best run production of the group, and the best walk to strikeout ratio as well. Kubel can play either corner outfield position, DH, is relatively in expensive for the production he could provide in Camden Yards.
Unfortunately, I believe all the work that went into this analysis is wasted because Baltimore does not like to pay money for players, and some people seem to forget that even if you acquire someone via trade, the team still has to pay that player and if Mark Reynolds can sign somewhere else for $6 million, I can not see the Orioles paying more than that for one of these guys, which they would have to. Baltimore will be heading into Spring Training with Chris Davis at first, Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth in left field and Wilson Betemit and Danny Valencia at DH. Sorry Baltimore, but sometimes I just have to state the facts.
Who do you think the Orioles should make their primary target? and do you think Baltimore will make a trade?
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